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Politics and its Discontents: The Better Angels of Our Nature

Like many who follow politics closely, I consider myself to be deeply cynical. Probably the best window into the human soul, politics is the arena where often the worst aspects of our natures prevail; greed, selfishness, abuse of power all have ample opportunity to find expression in this venue.

Yet despite many years of observing these terrible truths about ourselves, I have never completely abandoned hope for the possibility of something better. Recent events have provided some basis for that hope, despite the best efforts of the Harper neoconservatives to remake us in their own image and accept them as (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The effect on strategic voting of Wynne ruling out a coalition

Unfortunately, for those of us who think that some form of Liberal-NDP election deal or coalition would be vastly superior to the PCs forming a government with the largest minority, Kathleen Wynne has said that she won’t form a coalition with the NDP. Unsurprisingly, as this move changes the possible outcomes, it also has an effect on strategic voting.

For most ridings, this has little effect. Either the riding is “safe”  with the outcome largely determined. In this situation one can vote for any number of different reasons but doing it explicitly to strategically prevent the PCs from winning need (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Game theory and corporate tax rates: the Ontario Liberals are almost certainly wrong

I don’t know what the optimal corporate tax rate is. I suspect neither does anyone. I believe there is reasonable evidence out there that given the kinds of goals and values we likely share, that a somewhat higher corporate tax rate is preferred, but what exactly that rate is – what the Game Theoretically Optimal or GTO rate is, I don’t know.

Among the Ontario parties, the Liberals want to keep the tax rate fixed at the new 11.5% level they have introduced since being in power. The PCs want a 30% (3.5 percentage points) further reduction. The (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: 2014 Ontario Election: Much to lose, little to gain for the NDP

I once wrote about what I called the “n-party problem”, how movements of various parties on a political spectrum is much more complicated when n, the number of political parties, is greater than two, analogous to the complicated orbits of n-body solar systems for n greater than two.  The positioning of the parties in the 2014 Ontario election is very strange, one of the stranger campaigns I have seen recently. The Liberals ran quite a bit to the left of where they have typically been, infringing on the NDP – almost daring them to reject their budget. The (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: 2014 Ontario Election: Much to lose, little to gain for the NDP

Progressive Proselytizing: The Ontario NDP’s small plan isn’t even good strategy

Shortly after the 2014 Ontario Election was called, I said that progressives – whether nonpartisans like myself or NDP supporters like some of you – should take yes for an answer, and vote to reward Kathleen Wynne’s relatively left leaning and progressive budget. Andrea Horwath’s big chance to change my mind was with the release of her plan.

The NDP’s plan is, to put it kindly, small. It doesn’t come out with big, new, transformative progressive ideas. It consists of a series of small and only sometimes worthwhile tweaks, many of which overlap with the Liberals’ budget. The biggest move (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Following Politics Too Closely Takes Its Toll

I imagine that many people who follow politics closely do so in the belief that it is one of the few arenas that offers the possibility of change on a wide scale. Enlightened public policy, backed by the appropriate fiscal measures, can help bring about greater social and economic equity, thereby contributing to a more balanced and compassionate world. Unfortunately, perhaps inevitably, that hope is almost always dashed. Consequently, many of us fall victim to a deep cynicism about human nature.

In the current Ontario election campaign, there is much about which to be cynical. Three parties, all deeply flawed, (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: While Wynne goes to the left, Hudak dives hard right

You might have thought that Tim Hudak would have learned his lesson after his disastrous and short lived attempt to push his party towards US style union busting: going hard right in Ontario isn’t a winning strategy.

Well, he is at it again with the first two major campaign announcement of the 2014 Ontario Election. Firstly, Hudak wants to cut 100,000 Ontario government jobs. Ironically, this is released on the same day that Canada loses 29,000 jobs, which helps put the number in perspective.

Secondly, Hudak wants a 30% reduction in the corporate tax rate. This is amongst a backdrop (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Thoughts on the upcoming provincial election in Ontario

You would know from reading this blog or searching its archives I’ve not exactly been overflowing in my praise for the Ontario Liberal government the past several years. I had issues with Dalton Mcguinty on environmental issues as well as omnibus Budget bills presented in the same fashion that Stephen Harper did, which is what caused me to not renew my Ontario Liberal membership 3 years ago or so. (It was also a fact that the OLP’s social media relationship with its netroots was non-existent, which didn’t help matters).

When Kathleen Wynne was chosen as the new leader of the (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Disappointment with the Ontario Liberal Party lack of social media communication

The OLP has a convention next week, if you weren’t aware. It’s their annual general meeting – the one that was originally going to be held in London, but got moved to Toronto due to speculated Spring Election concerns.

Several bloggers (myself included) of the Liberal persuasion (Ontario or Federal) have been inquiring for awhile since last year before Christmas to some of our contacts within the OLP hierarchy about the possibility of being present at this to live-blog or live-tweet it or social media it in general.. you get the idea – as we did for the OLP’s leadership (Read more…)

Trashy's World: The Ontario Catholic School Board supporters had an email campaign, I guess…

So. There is this website that the Ontario Liberals have set up called “Common Ground” that is designed to elicit comments from Ontarians on new policy directions. This is not a bad idea. But good ideas can be hijacked by special interests who would clearly be positively or negatively affected by a certain proposed policy. […]

Politics and its Discontents: It’s All One Big Coincidence

Glad that Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne has put to rest that ugly speculation that the province’s change in attitude toward a subway for Scarborough has nothing to do with the upcoming provincial byelections.

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Politics and its Discontents: Fathoming The Reactionary Mind

I readily admit that I find it difficult, if not impossible, to fathom the extreme right-wing mind. To me, it is a mind mired in a world of fantasy, willful ignorance, and intractable denial. Magical thinking seems to be a substitute for cogitation. Name-calling in lieu of discussion. Denunciation instead of deliberation. And I would be quite content to leave such minds alone, content as they are in delusions of grandeur and superiority, except for the fact that they bother and disrupt the business of the adults in society.

The above, I’m afraid, is an all too apt description of

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Fathoming The Reactionary Mind

The Equivocator: Kathleen Wynne’s Speech & Some Thoughts on the 2013 OLP Leadership Convention

“I want to put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You’ve heard that question. You’ve all heard that question but let’s say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win? That’s what it means. So, not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question. When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and the people of Thorncliffe Park weren’t ready to elect a gay woman. Well, apparently they were.

You know, there was a time, not that long ago when most of us in this leadership race

. . . → Read More: The Equivocator: Kathleen Wynne’s Speech & Some Thoughts on the 2013 OLP Leadership Convention

Politics and its Discontents: Cynical Politics – Ontario Style

It is likely a truism to observe that the value burning brightest in the hearts of most political parties is the passion to get and retain power. Concern for the public good is at best but a very distant secondary concern.

We are reminded of this fact by the reaction of Ontario’s political opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s winning of the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, thus rendering her the next premier of the province. In his column today, The Star’s Martin Regg Cohn offers the following trenchant observations:

With graceless timing, Tory Leader Tim Hudak disgorged an attack ad

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Cynical Politics – Ontario Style

Ontario Liberal leadership: on the numbers

As a Kathleen Wynne delegate to the leadership convention, I will probably take some time in trying to articulate the significance of the win and not rush into a blathering post about how freakin’ awesome it all is. (By the way, Adam Goldenberg really nailed the personal aspect in his post for Macleans.) For now, a few thoughts about numbers.

Going into the first ballot, we knew how the delegates would vote because the ballots were pre-printed – you had to support the candidate for whom you ran, obviously, or the first ballot results would not reflect how your

. . . → Read More: Ontario Liberal leadership: on the numbers

Eclectic Lip: Wynne-win for Canada! And, is America ready for another white male President?

I welcomed Kathleen Wynne‘s victory in the leadership race for the ruling Ontario Liberal Party this past Saturday, even though I live in faraway British Columbia. And I do mean far away — seriously, the International Space Station is ten times closer to the surface of the earth, than Vancouver is to Toronto. (Though that probably says more about how not-so-far-away the International Space Station is to us.)

Wynne is of course lesbian, and her ascent to the Premiership of Ontario — Canada’s most populous province — is a matter of minor national pride, whatever her

. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Wynne-win for Canada! And, is America ready for another white male President?

Toronto Lawyer | Omar Ha-Redeye, J.D. » Politics: 2013 Ontario Liberal Party Leadership

Eric Hoskins | Gerard Kennedy | Sandra Pupatello | Charles Sousa | Harinder Takhar | Kathleen Wynne

Omar Ha-Redeye will be provided coverage of the 2013 Leadership Convention as an accredited blogger.

Featured posts:

How Wynne Just Lost My Support Jade Hip Hop Academy Opening Harinder Takhar is No Canadian Obama, but He’s Needed Austerity is the Real Story at the OLP LDR Convention Results of the First Ballot Bill 115 Protests Grow Outside Leadership Convention Why I Joined the Wynne Camp Results of the Second Ballot Interview with Chris Drew (Wynne Camp) Before Third Ballot Interview with Warren Kinsella (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Toronto Lawyer | Omar Ha-Redeye, J.D. » Politics: 2013 Ontario Liberal Party Leadership

Toronto Lawyer | Omar Ha-Redeye, J.D. » Politics: Why I Joined the Wynne Camp

Eric Hoskins | Gerard Kennedy Sandra Pupatello | Charles Sousa | Harinder Takhar | | Kathleen Wynne

It took them some time. In fact quite a bit of time. But eventually members of the Wynne camp addressed my concerns about the “ethnic” voting strategy. An apology was issued to those who received the messages, and I personally observed it being sent.

Although nearly every member of the Wynne camp was sympathetic, nobody was able to actually execute action. Mistakes happen. I get it. I like to have them fixed. I like to think emphasizing this issue will highlight to (Read more…)

Toronto Lawyer | Omar Ha-Redeye, J.D. » Politics: Austerity is the Real Story at the OLP LDR Convention

Eric Hoskins | Gerard Kennedy Sandra Pupatello | Charles Sousa | Harinder Takhar | Kathleen Wynne

Slush filled sidewalks are tough enough to traverse first thing in the morning. They’re even more difficult when protesters form a narrow gauntlet to the entrance of Maple Leaf Gardens.

Omar Ha-Redeye speaks to protesters.

Omar Ha-Redeye speaks to protesters.

Teachers are in full force today, despite the cold and the snow. They’re protesting Bill 115, which unilaterally cut pay and benefits for some Ontario teachers. Meaningful collective bargaining, the protesters claim, have not been achieved in this process.

But Bill 115 has

. . . → Read More: Toronto Lawyer | Omar Ha-Redeye, J.D. » Politics: Austerity is the Real Story at the OLP LDR Convention

Scott's DiaTribes: A disquieting rumor on the Ontario Liberal Convention blogging front

I’m still away on Christmas/New Years vacation, hence my absence from here… so Happy New Year to everyone.

Secondly, just a little update on the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention and whether or not they will be accrediting bloggers to cover the convention as social/new media. Nothing official has come yet either way. I would send a friendly sugggestion to those at the OLP organizing this that they should be making a decision sooner rather then later, and if your decision is to have bloggers attending to cover you as new media/social media journalists, you need to set some time for

Scott's DiaTribes: Charles Sousa’s replies to my 5 questions

Well, a bit of a mini-flood, as on the heels of Eric Hoskins replies to me yesterday, Charles Sousa and his team have sent in their responses to my 5 questions for the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates (Again, here are Eric’s, Kathleen Wynne, and Sandra Pupatello’s answers/responses for comparison).

As usual, no commentary from me on the answers til I’ve given the other candidates every chance to reply. The Kennedy team had promised me something, no indication from Glen Murray, and I havent had the opportunity to try sending these to the late candidate into the race, Harinder Takhar, because

Scott's DiaTribes: Eric Hoskins – next to respond to my 5 questions for the OLP leadership candidates

I received these answers from Eric and his campaign staff this afternoon to the questions I submittted to him and the other candidates (you can see Kathleen Wynne’s and Sandra Pupatello’s for comparing answers). As with the others, I’… . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Eric Hoskins – next to respond to my 5 questions for the OLP leadership candidates

Politics and its Discontents: Some Questions Leadership Aspirants Need To Answer

I have recently written some posts bemoaning the paucity of policy undergirding the campaigns of those who would become the next leader of the Liberal Party, both on the provincial (Ontario) and federal level. Substituting for substance are tired br… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Some Questions Leadership Aspirants Need To Answer

Scott's DiaTribes: Kathleen Wynne’s responses to my questions

Kathleen Wynne and her team have sent in their responses to my questions for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership, and again, I will re-post them verbatim (and just a note: I’m not going to be passing along any commentary on any of these until I … . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Kathleen Wynne’s responses to my questions

Scott's DiaTribes: There are now 2000 candidates for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership.. what are their policies?

Ok.. so I’m exaggerating.. but it sure seems that way. It also seems like the entire provincial cabinet has resigned so they can enter the race. Two more have entered today, or are about to enter – Charles Sousa – Former Minister of C… . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: There are now 2000 candidates for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership.. what are their policies?